Hopeless Joe Files His Spring Training Beat Report

FLORIDA — Here I am, at spring training with my favorite team, after an arduous journey that involved my car breaking down, no one wanting to help me as I tried to wave down passing motorists (I guess I shouldn’t have worn my old worn-out Michael Jackson “Smooth Criminal” t-shirt, where the first word is barely even visible after so many washings with the discount store-brand detergent), and then a brief case of norovirus I picked up in the gas station bathroom after I pushed my car along the highway’s shoulder — dislocating my own shoulder in the process.

Anyway, looks to me like everyone is in the worst shape of their lives. Unless I’m just projecting. Hey, I used to have decent metabolism. I could eat a whole pizza — but now I can only eat half a pizza, since that’s all I can afford, and still I balloon up like a Bartolo. Anyway, after a rough 2013, I can only imagine everyone’s in for a rougher 2014, or at least a rougher start to the year after I had all the starters sign a team ball and inadvertently gave them all my norovirus in the process. My bad.

And of course there’s the battle for the fifth starter slot, which probably won’t be won by anyone after I took the contenders out for lunch to a beachfront restaurant, for a group interview I thought would make an amazing piece I could sell somewhere and finally make some money from my freelance writing… and they all got washed away to sea and drowned. Don’t ask — I should have read the Yelp reviews more carefully. Who knew you needed a license to operate a restaurant on a boat, and that you also needed the boat to be airtight. A titanic mistake on my part, unfortunately.

So I talked to one of the top prospects too, and he was doing great until I reminded him that the stock market is volatile and his signing bonus may not actually be as safe as he imagined. He said that put a little pressure on him, that I really made it sink in that he has to do whatever it takes to end up with a major league career. So, that plus the random drug test a few hours later and it looks like he’ll be back in the second half of the season. Oh well.

The ace reliever has a new pitch. Well, he did until I accidentally bumped into him while I was doing the grounds crew a favor and trimming the hedges.

The third baseman didn’t really understand my practical joke about the hot corner and now he has third-degree burns over 90% of his body.

And the star outfielder is gone. Missing, I mean. I probably shouldn’t have mentioned my connection to the team when I was talking to my bookie. Joke’s on them, though — I can’t even come close to affording the ransom!

Looks to be another losing season. Why wouldn’t it be? I only root for the best.

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Jeremy Blachman is the author of Anonymous Lawyer, a satirical novel that should make people who didn't go to law school feel good about their life choices. Read more at McSweeney's or elsewhere. He likes e-mail.

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Illinois glass M. Michael Sheets
Illinois glass M. Michael Sheets
2 years 6 months ago

This is very inspiring, Joe. My only hope is that this comment brightens your day as much as your article did mine. Or at least what’s left of the day by the time you actually read this, if any day does exist. Then again, what’s the point of inspiration if the world is just going to crush us all anyways and turn us back into the dust from whence we came.